Julio Cruz hit Inter's winner and assistant coach Mihajlovic admitted afterwards: "This is a very important step forward and with four rounds to go it is a considerable advantage.
"Perhaps we were a little fortunate, but the important thing was to win and get the three points."
Roberto Mancini, who officially missed the post-match meeting with the media because he'd shouted himself hoarse on the touchline, made some unusual tactical decisions.
Most notably he fielded a very defensive 4-5-1 system for large portions of the game and substituted striker Mario Balotelli just 37 minutes in for winger Cesar.
"We took him off because, being very young, he was rather targeted. He risked a booking and it didn't seem right. He was being provoked, was on a yellow card and so we preferred not to risk it."